Ginseng is called the ‘king of herbal medicine.’ That’s because Asian medicine has used this traditional Chinese herb to treat several conditions for centuries. It’s been said that the sale of ginseng spurred the rise of the last Chinese dynasty. Ginseng is one of the oldest plants, and it’s native to both Asia and North America. The plant has its roots firmly in the pages of history.
Ginseng’s roots are also planted in the good books of many health enthusiasts. This is due to its many potential health benefits. It’s also one of the most widely researched herbs in modern science. If you’re wondering what the ginseng root extract is good for, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to do a little deep dive into this plant’s benefits to human wellness.
What is ginseng root extract?
Ginseng belongs to the genus ‘Panax’ and alludes to eleven different types of short plants with fleshy roots. It’s believed to restore well-being and enhance overall health. The herbs consist of a light-colored root that’s shaped like a fork. It has a long stalk and green, oval leaves. There are two varieties of ginseng—the American (Panax Quinquefolius, L.) and the Asian Panax Ginseng (P. Ginseng). The Asian variety is known to boost energy, while the American one is said to reduce stress.All the types used in medicine contain ginsenosides and gintonin, which have potential health benefits.
Are you wondering what the ginseng root extract is used for? The Panax ginseng root extract may help strengthen your immunity, regulate blood sugar levels, and can even help maintain mental health. It may also enhance energy levels, lower blood sugar and cholesterol, and reduce stress.
What do studies say about ginseng?
Panax ginseng root, or ginseng for short, is one of the most extensively researched herbs in modern science, with over 5,000 published studies. It belongs to a category of herbs known as adaptogens, which helps stabilize physiological processes and promotes stable, healthy functioning of the body, especially in the case of fatigue and stress. This property was seen in two human clinical studies.
These studies examined the effects of ginseng on mental performance. The results demonstrated that 14 mg of ginsenosides from ginseng root extract daily had improved the speed of mental performance and reduced feelings of mental fatigue on those who took it. These effects came into place just 60 minutes post-consumption! The same studies observed that the test subjects had enhanced abilities to perform mental arithmetic, reduced feelings of mental fatigue during sustained mental activity, and had improved measures of mental performance.
Another study illustrates how ginseng has possible therapeutic activity against cognitive impairment. Several tests have shown possible pharmacological activity produced by ginseng and its components. These could combat oxidative stress, produce anti-neuroinflammatory agents, and modulate molecular signaling pathways that are essential for cognitive therapy. Phew—that’s a mouthful!
Types of ginseng
In total, there are 13 species of ginseng classified under the name ‘Panax.’ Three types of ginseng roots are famous for their potential healing properties. These can be found all over the world.
These are—Korean ginseng, American ginseng, Japanese ginseng, and the Tienchi ginseng. Please keep in mind the difference between Panax and Siberian ginseng.Siberian ginseng’s name is deceptive, as it’s not ginseng. It’s a very different plant and is scientifically called Eleutherococcus senticosus.
Siberian ‘ginseng’ is completely different from Panax, and it has a different mix of active chemical compounds called eleutherosides. Let’s leave that out of this article.
Panax ginseng - This is also called Asian or Red ginseng and is considered the original ginseng, with the best medicinal properties. It’s used to boost the body’s metabolism and may energize the cells in your body.
Panax Quinquefolius - Also known as American ginseng, this variety is thought to have cooling properties and can be good for fighting tiredness and fatigue and boosting cellular health.
Tienchi ginseng - This Chinese variant is said to increase blood circulation, ease pain and inflammation, and relieve pain from heavy menstrual cycles.
Another point to note down is that there is a difference between white ginseng and red ginseng. The white variety is peeled and dried to prevent decay, while the red one uses the entire root with its skin, along with steaming and drying to keep decay away. The color doesn’t determine the quality of the root.
What is Panax ginseng root extract used for? A variety of things related to general well-being. Panax ginseng has many active compounds called ginsenosides (coined by American researchers) or panaxosides (titled so by Russian researchers). These are the compounds that make Panax ginseng work. Here are a few benefits of this herb:
Memory and cognitive function: Panax ginseng may improve abstract thinking, the ability to do mental math, and your mental reaction time.
Erectile dysfunction: It is said that ingesting red Panax ginseng may improve sexual function in men.
Fights fatigue: Certain strains of the Panax ginseng can increase immunity and help keep your energy levels up.
Benefits of Panax Ginseng
There are many potential benefits of the red ginseng root extract. In this study, single doses of Panax ginseng showed elicited cognitive improvements in healthy young volunteers. The following were reported:
Improved speed of mental performance within 60 minutes.
The volunteers improved in terms of speed of performing the assigned mental tasks. Surprisingly, they were faster but didn’t make more errors, so it’s not a trade-off between speed and accuracy. This improved performance occurred on a 200mg dose of P. ginseng and is consistent with other studies that have also linked the herb with cognitive performance.
Enhanced performance of mental arithmetic within 60 minutes.
The study also showed that 200 mg of Panax ginseng seemed to have significantly improved Serial Sevens subtraction task performance.
Quickly reduced feelings of mental fatigue during sustained mental activity.
While why this happens is unknown, it’s thought that it’s related to the glycaemic properties of some Panax species. This study suggests that Panax ginseng can improve performance and keep away feelings of mental fatigue during sustained mental activities.
There are other Korean ginseng root extract benefits, as well. These include boosting immunity and certain anti-inflammatory properties. While many nutraceuticals may take weeks to work, these studies found that ginseng root extract provided beneficial results in as little as 60 minutes. The same benefits could be derived from Panax ginseng supplements.
Asian ginseng root extract benefits are globally recognized. It’s approved by the German Commission E and the World Health Organization for use as an adaptogenic (for stress), anti-fatigue agent, anti-stress agent, and atonic. In Germany, ginseng can be branded as an aid to convalescence and a tonic to treat poor concentration, fatigue, and reduced work capacity.
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